Twelve years on, the West’s war on Syria continues, with seemingly new plans to destabilize the country and overthrow its leadership. This after years of brutal sanctions against (and crocodile tears for) the Syrian people.
Earlier this year, a discussion between journalist Edward Xu and Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general, went viral when Xu’s questions led to a bold-faced display of feigned ignorance on the UN spokesman’s part. Asked whether he thought the presence of the US military in Syria was illegal or not, Haq stammered out, “There’s no US armed forces inside of Syria…I believe there’s military activity, but in terms of a ground presence in Syria, I’m not aware of that.”
Xu had referred to a US airstrike the day prior that had killed 11 people in Syria and asked for Haq’s comment on whether or not Syria’s territorial integrity should be respected. Haq called for “foreign forces” to exercise restraint, but presumably he didn’t mean US forces – since, of course, according to him, none were there.
Haq’s claim of not being aware of the illegal presence of at least 900 US troops on the ground in Syria is contradicted by US officials’ statements clearly indicating such a presence exists and will remain for “many, many, years and decades to come,” as General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in late August. Of course the US has no plans of leaving Syria – why would it, when there are so many natural resources left to plunder (oil, gas, wheat…), as the US and its proxies have been doing for years. Former President Donald Trump even bragged about this in November 2019, saying, “We’re keeping the oil…We left troops behind only for the oil.”
While the Xu-Haq exchange took place last March, it remains very relevant today as the US and its allies gear up to cause more instability in Syria, with the same old goal of overthrowing the Syrian government.
Syria 2011 destabilization ‘protests’ anew?
British journalist Vanessa Beeley recently reported on potential new Western efforts to destabilize Syria, fomenting unrest much like in 2011. But this time, the unrest is being fomented in Sweida province, with Israel playing an instrumental role, she said.
In a subsequent interview on Redacted, Beeley stated the number of US military personnel and contractors on the ground in northeast Syria is somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000. The US, she said, continues to use al-Tanf, its illegal military base in the southeast of the country on the borders with Iraq and Jordan, to train still more militants to eventually have them take control over part of the Syrian-Jordanian border and thus close off an important land border for Syria.
Worse still is the prospect of Syria 2011 all over, with the US and allies, “training 16,000 Druze fighters in Sweida,” with the intent of sowing chaos as in 2011. “There is a very small minority here that is – with the backing of Israel and the US – looking for autonomy, very similar to the Kurdish project in the northeast, and a federalist project to separate them from the Syrian State and to create an independent statelet,” Beeley said. “This is part of the US-Israeli plan to Balkanize Syria and divide it into warring statelets. This movement is basically now being power multiplied by the US at al-Tanf.”
She also highlighted a recent visit by three US congressmen to a district in northern Syria controlled by terrorist factions, pointing out that they had entered Syria illegally (as Western politicians and corporate media prefer to do) to fraternize with terrorist groups (as Western politicians and media prefer to do).
Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian recently commented on the Sweida protests, noting that “the leaders of the protesters are calling for political decentralization, which is the fancy word for partition and autonomy of the province from Damascus.”
Syria’s economy is in shambles now, largely a result of the US-led war on Syria and years of steadily more brutal Western sanctions. “Can someone please explain to me how political decentralization will solve the [economic] misery, and why no one from these leaders of the protesters are asking the EU the US to lift the draconian sanctions against them that is causing all this misery?” Almassian asked.
“Why is no one from these so-called leaders of the protesters saying let’s go and liberate the eastern shore of the Euphrates from the American occupation forces who are occupying their oil and wheat fields?”
Good questions, as was his question on who benefits from the sectarian partitioning of Syria. The Syrian people? No. The US, Israel and allies? Bingo.
‘Anti-terrorist’ resolution forgotten in favor of regime change
In her Redacted interview, Beeley stated, “What we’re basically seeing is a resurgence of the kind of 2011 narrative of peaceful protests in the south, the desire to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. UN officials are calling for resolution 2254 which is effectively regime change and political interference in the political process in Syria.” The resolution she is referring to, adopted in 2015, called for “free and fair elections” under UN supervision to be held in Syria within 18 months, among other things.
Back in 2016, I interviewed Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media advisor to Assad. When emphasizing how the West was fanning, not fighting, terrorism in Syria, she addressed UNSC Resolutions 2254and the lesser-mentioned 2253, which entails stopping terrorism in Syria and prosecuting those who support, facilitate, or participate in the direct or indirect financing of activities carried out by ISIS, al-Qaida and associated groups.
Shaaban said, “You want to implement 2254? Implement 2253 first, and then it would be very easy to implement 2254. This is the double-standards of the West: they address their audience with having a stand against terrorism and wanting to fight terrorism, when in reality they are facilitating terrorism and not even mentioning even a Security Council Resolution under the 7th Chapter that was taken 24 hours before 2254.”
Washington can claim its troops are in Syria to “fight ISIS,” but as I wrote some years ago, these claims are transparently fake, with multiple instances of the US-led coalition offering no resistance to terrorist advances or even facilitating their victories against Syrian forces.
In just one of the more recent reports of US theft of Syrian oil, Syrian media on August 24 reported that a convoy of 60 tankers loaded with crude oil exited Syria to US occupation bases in Iraq. In August 2022, Syria’s Oil Ministry stated that “US occupation forces and their mercenaries steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83% of Syria’s daily oil production, the Cradle reported.
As Milley boasted, the US intends to (illegally) remain in Syria for a long time. Not to “fight terrorism” but to destabilize the country still more, impoverish and kill the people still more, and loot its resources still more.